Lemon Water in the Morning: Benefits & Myths

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Benefits of lemon water
Wellness Mama » Blog » Natural Remedies » Lemon Water in the Morning: Benefits & Myths

I’ve occasionally had a glass of warm lemon water in the morning for years, but usually just because it sounded good and I wanted something warm besides coffee or herbal tea.

When I saw several pictures and posts floating around the Internet touting the benefits of drinking lemon water in the morning, I decided to investigate this habit I’d already intuitively had for years.

Benefits of Lemon Water

Turns out there are real benefits to drinking lemon water, but some over-hyped ones as well.

1. Aids Digestion

The biggest lemon water benefit may be from the temperature of the water and not even the added lemon. Drinking any water, especially warm water, first thing in the morning can help flush the digestive system and rehydrate the body.

Think about this… during sleep, you typically haven’t been drinking for at least 8 hours. Giving the body adequate water when you first wake up is a great way to get your body and your mind going.

A college friend of mine who had studied in Japan brought back that habit with her. She said that where she stayed in Japan, it was customary to drink 2-3 glasses of water first thing in the morning and that when she tried it she had noticeably higher energy levels and seemed to have improved digestion throughout the day.

2. A Natural Flush

The liver is extremely active during sleep since this is the body’s time to restore and regenerate. Drinking enough water, especially in the morning, helps make sure that the body can perform these jobs most effectively. There is even some evidence that lemon juice can help stimulate proper stomach acid production and bile production.
Benefits of drinking lemon water in the morning

For a happy liver and lymph system, make a habit of drinking 1-2 glasses of lemon water before having coffee or tea.

3. Immune System Boost From Vitamin C

Lemons contain vitamin C (read up on the benefits here)… not a spectacularly high amount, but 30-50 milligrams per lemon. They also contain potassium.

Drinking lemon water first thing in the morning gives the body a chance to absorb these vitamins effectively and can provide a little immune boost.

Vitamin C is also good for the adrenals and can potentially help reduce the effects of stress.

4. Happier Skin

By helping flush the body and improve digestion, lemon water can lead to cleaner skin. It also contains vitamin C which is needed for collagen production for smooth, healthy skin.

5. Healthy Weight

There is evidence that drinking water, especially lemon water, first thing in the morning can help maintain a healthy weight. Researchers in Germany found that drinking enough water increased metabolism. According to this article:

After drinking approximately 17 ounces of water, the subjects’ metabolic rates — or the rate at which calories are burned — increased by 30% for both men and women. The increases occurred within 10 minutes of water consumption and reached a maximum after about 30 to 40 minutes.

Of course, drinking water (or lemon water) by itself isn’t going to be a miracle weight loss solution, but with other healthy habits, it can help maintain a healthy weight.

Things Lemon Water Won’t Do

Drinking enough water and adding a little vitamin C boost are good ideas, but they aren’t magic and there is no scientific backing to some of the claims made online about the benefits of lemon water:

  • Balances pH Levels: There is a theory that certain foods can leave an acid or alkaline ash in the body. This is true, but this only affects the pH of the urine and not the pH of the blood. Chris Kresser explains the acid/alkaline myth in-depth here.
  • Flushes Toxins: Drinking water is important to help the body naturally eliminate cellular waste (a process that it does naturally), but claims that lemon water has a special ability to flush “toxins” without defining what they are or how this process works are overblown.
  • Prevents Cancer: Many of the same articles that claim that lemon water alkalizes the body claim that it promotes an alkaline environment where cancer cells cannot thrive. See the article from Chris Kresser above about why this theory doesn’t make sense.
  • Increases IQ: While drinking water or lemon water in the morning can help with alertness and focus, there is no evidence that water with lemon actually increases the IQ over the long term.

Lemon Water: The Bottom Line

It is always important to support our bodies by drinking enough water, especially in the morning. Lemon water won’t be a miracle cure but it might be a better alternative to caffeinated drinks, especially for those with adrenal problems.

One caution: I’ve found that starting to drink water first thing in the morning when you aren’t used to it can cause a few minutes of nausea, so it might be a good idea to start slowly and not used to drinking this much.

How I Drink Lemon Water

I always make sure to drink a few glasses of water in the morning, but a few days a week, I have hot lemon water for the taste and extra vitamin C. Here’s what I do:

Benefits of lemon water

Hot Lemon Water Recipe

Lemon water can help boost digestion and energy when consumed first thing in the morning.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Calories 34kcal
Author Katie Wells

Servings

1

Ingredients

  • 24 oz water (warm, not boiling)
  • 1 lemon (organic)
  • ½ inch ginger (fresh, optional)

Instructions

  • Cut the lemon in half and squeeze one half or the whole lemon into the water.
  • If using, peel and slice the ginger and add to the water.
  • Enjoy!

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Hot Lemon Water Recipe
Amount Per Serving (24 oz)
Calories 34
% Daily Value*
Sodium 36mg2%
Potassium 149mg4%
Carbohydrates 10g3%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin C 57.3mg69%
Calcium 48mg5%
Iron 0.6mg3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Notes

After drinking, swish with some plain filtered water for 30 seconds to make sure the citric acid from the lemon juice doesn’t remain on teeth.
TIP: Zest the organic lemon first and store the grated zest in the freezer or dehydrate for easy use in recipes.

Like this recipe? Check out my new cookbook, or get all my recipes (over 500!) in a personalized weekly meal planner here!

This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Betsy Greenleaf, the first board certified female urogynecologist in the United States. She is double board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology, as well as Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

Do you drink lemon water in the morning? Have you noticed any benefits? Share below!

This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Scott Soerries, MD, Family Physician and Medical Director of SteadyMD. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

There are many articles about the benefits of lemon water in the morning. It can help digestion and energy but some benefits are exaggerated.

Sources

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Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.

Comments

218 responses to “Lemon Water in the Morning: Benefits & Myths”

  1. Barbra Avatar
    Barbra

    I got this habbit of drinking lemon water in the morning and it does wonders on my skin and weight…l love it

  2. christine wooley Avatar
    christine wooley

    I just stumbled onto the goodness of lemon water a few days ago. so simple even I can do it! and the addition of ginger, cinnamon, vinegar, etc. is wonderful, refreshing, and fun! Thank you, but first thank God Almighty! Well, I do.

  3. Dr Al Avatar

    Habitual consumption of lemon water will absolutely destroy your teeth. Please stop promoting lemon water!

  4. Joann Avatar

    Hi! Lemon juice is really amazing! I have a high blood pressure and oftentimes I feel heavy and my feet always swollen. Not only I felt heavy in my body and the result of my bp is not much of a joy either. My medication is getting higher. And I remember the lemon! So I started drinking it first thing in the morning. After few days only I felt the result. My blood pressure is getting lower, my swollen feet disappered and I never felt so light in my body! My mood change and I am happy. Now I dont want to stop drinking lemon juice anymore lol!

  5. Melissa Avatar
    Melissa

    Would high quality lemon essential oil (one that is made to be ingested like YL or doTERRA) give you the same benefits?

  6. Debbie Avatar

    Usually I do a green juice in the morning after I have a shot of wheatgrass. Then I have my hot water and lemon.
    Is that order okay or should I be drinking the lemon water first. If it doesn’t matter, all the better.

  7. Rose Avatar

    I usually only go through a hundred or so bottles a day. I like to use fresh bottled water in the tub to help save the planet! After the bottle sits in the hot sun for a few hours it is the perfect temperature to bathe in! I’m so proud to be healing the environment with all the I solar energy I use!

  8. Sudipta Avatar

    5 stars
    Hi Katie,
    Love this post about the benefits and some myths of drinking warm lemon water in the morning. Thanks for creating such great info.
    Happy to be connected with you Katie.
    – Sudipta

  9. Victoria Avatar

    Do you find it necessary to get organic lemons and limes? I was told they are one of the few foods that organic is unnecessary, same as avocados.

  10. Catherine Avatar
    Catherine

    Thank you for being so transparent about what you think backs up positive claims, and the hype that may be overblown. It’s so hard to find balanced information out there about food and wellness now. So I appreciate it!

  11. Patty Avatar

    For several years, I had elevated liver enzymes that seemed to indicate a possible Hepatitis infection. My doctor finally had me tested for Hep A, B, and C, but the tests came back negative. So she left the issue of what was causing the elevated enzymes on the table. I remembered that an alternative medicine doctor I went to recommended drinking lemon water in the morning before eating. I began doing this daily. Three months or so later, she had my liver tested again, and all readings were normal. I’m sure it was the lemon water–those readings had not been normal for years!

  12. Donna Avatar

    5 stars
    Love this recipe! May I share this on my new FB page Fighting Fibro , please?
    Thank you!

  13. Jasmine Tan Avatar
    Jasmine Tan

    I work from 9-6, mon-fri in a fully air conditioned environment. I usually slice up a lemon and put it in a container which i will leave it in the refrigerator in my office. 1 lemon probably last me about 3 days (depends on size)

    Put a few slice of lemon in a mug and use a spoon to squeeze the lemon and pulp out then add in lukewarm water. i usually drink about 1L of lemon water and i have done it for the past 2 to 3 weeks and I’m pretty surprised despite not having good quality sleep last week as i was on vacation, I feel pretty energetic and yet to fall sick as my immune system is pretty bad since young.

  14. Laura Avatar

    There are innumerable benefits of lemon, I was impressed, I did not know that one of the benefits was the properties against cancer. Now I will begin to include a glass of lemon juice in my diet. This will give many good things to your body. I recently read an article about the frozen lemon which in that way has greater advantages by raising the defenses, helping the nervous system, diseases such as diabetes and cancer, besides helping you lose weight.

  15. Nicole Avatar

    Do you know if drinking cold lemon water in the morning adds benefits? I don’t really like warm lemon water, but I like cold lemon water first thing in the morning!
    Thanks!

  16. vicki Avatar

    I notice a difference when i drink lemon water in the morning. To make it easier, I zest several lemons on the weekend and freeze that as you suggested. Then i squeeze all the lemons and freeze them in an icecube tray. (each square holds 1/2 a lemon. Then i place a frozen cube in a glass of fresh water by my bed before i go to bed. It is thawed and mixed by the time I wake up. Then i go about my morning routine and clean my teeth.

  17. Lisa Avatar

    5 stars
    I was drinking warm lemon water every morning. I added half lemon and 1 Tsp ACV to a coffee mug. If the lemons had been frozen I grateful the half and drank the rind too. I felt great, I was losing a ton of weight and then I injured myself and fell far off the wagon. At the same time, I had cut my pop consumption from at minimum a twelve pack a day to 0. I started drinking pop again not realizing I would be injured that long. I am attempting it again.

4.23 from 95 votes (45 ratings without comment)

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